Kaweco Classic Sport Ballpoint Guilloche Review

I ended up with two similar Kaweco pocket pens about the same time. A couple of weeks ago I reviewed the The Classic Sport Gel Roller in Black Chess Pattern so I won’t bore you by repeating much of what I’ve penned in the past about the Kaweco Sport line and I will spare you the duplication on my commonly written philosophy on the pocket pen genre. Most all of it was summarized in my review of the Gel Roller.

Today I want to share with you about my time with the The Classic Sport Ball Pen in Black Guilloche  Overall5 Length: 4.15″
Weight: .4 oz
Uses D1 Size Refills


The Guilloche variant features a black octagonal barrel with a subtle guilloche engraved effect and gold colored metal decal on the push button. Manufactured from ABS or sometimes called macrolon plastic, the guilloche is small, light and attractive.

Overall3 Overall4 End Cap2 Tip3Black pens are hard for me to photograph well but in the pictures I hope you can appreciate the creative design Kaweco has added to this one.


The Guilloche is a close cousin to an Ice Sport I have carried and abused for several years. So no get familiar time was needed for me.

Where the ballpoint excels over the gel roller in my mind is speed to deploy. The knock push button is one handed and just faster than two hands needed to remove a cap.

The downside is there is no cap to post. The cap of the gel writer makes it a more comfortable pen to write with, you just can’t pull that feat off with the ballpoint design. Where the ballpoint shines is convenience. Receipts or signatures are a quick and efficient execution, unpocket, click, sign, click, repocket, done.


Apart1The D1 refill scared me at first as there is an obvious trade off with size and ink capacity but there is a bigger variety of D1 refills than I expected. With these manufacturers producing the D1 size I’m sure you can find something you like.

    • Retro 51
    • Monteverde
    • Uniball Jetstream
    • Zebra
    • Pilot
    • Staedtler
    • Kaweco
    • Platinum
    • Ohto
    • Pentel
    • Tombow

I don’t worry about proprietary refills with the Kaweco. The Soul 1.0 that ships with the pen is worthy performer or if you prefer another here is a review I did on a wide variety of these D1 refills. I found a favorite.


The two newest Kaweco Sports to my collection are a really hard toss up on which to carry. I really like the quick deploy of the knock push button on the ballpoint but the writing comfort (posted) and Parker refill of the gel writer makes for a nicer writing experience. Either one you pick, or both, I think you will enjoy the Kaweco quality and know it’s going to work for you every time you call it to action.

Remember: Write something nice……

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Kaweco Sport Chess Gel Roller Review

Like most everyday carry items the best one is always the one you have with you. I have reviewed, carried and maintain a collection of about 30 pens that I would consider pocket size. 5 of these 30 are in the Kaweco Sport line.

Overall CappedKaweco Classic Sport Chess Gel Roller Black

The Classic Sport line is based on a design dating back to 1935. The fountain pen is probably the most popular model followed by the click ballpoint and the parker size refill gel roller I’m reviewing today. Made from ABS macrolon plastic, this pen comes in comfortably as a pocket size variant pen but when posted it’s a comfortable handling length for anything but the longest of writing sessions.

  • Length capped: 4 1/8”
  • Length uncapped: 3 15/16” with refill
  • Length posted: 5 ¼”
  • Weight with refill: 11.4 grams


Where the Ice Sport and other finishes in the Sport line would be considered a fun look, I would suggest the black CHESS version gives a slightly more upscale look to the pen. On 4 sides of the signature 8 sided cap there is a nice checkered pattern that you can see and feel in the material. I suspect it’s mainly for looks and it succeeds very well.

Overall UncappedThe cap is topped with the traditional gold cap of the Kaweco brand and sets off the rest of the pen quite nicely. At the tail of the body is a very small ridged tail piece. Nice aesthetic touch but I’m not sure if there is a functional purpose for it. The only thing I could think of is maybe to help with retention of the posted cap.


Fit and finish on the pen is top notch, as we have come to expect from Kaweco. They execute well on what can be a challenge of mass producing a nice looking and attractive designed pen for under $30.

The engineered size of the Gel Writer impressed me. The body of the pen, sans refill, is actually shorter than a parker refill. You can’t get more compact than that and still use your favorite refill!


The Sport Gel Roller has a screw on cap that requires a small ¾ of a turn to uncap and recaps in 1 turn. The threads on the body of the pen look deceiving and I was expecting a longer twist on and twist off so there is some cool thread magic going on in the cap that I would never be able to explain. It works. The difference in rotations probably has to do with the positioning that my test just happened to choose in relation to engaging a lead thread to start the engagement. With some experimenting I could get it to full close in ¾ of a turn but in practical use a full turn is very acceptable in regards to deployment and return to pocket speed.

The section is a slight concave which helps with the finger resting and unposted the pen writes fine but for my larger hands anything more than my signature on a receipt I’ll be posting the cap. With the cap posted I find the overall length of 5 ¼” very easy to handle and comfortable for most writing tasks. The cap is a push on posting style with good retention and no wiggles.


Overall Length Posted

Here it is posted next to my Karas Kustoms EDK, another standard in the EDC pen genre.Compared to Karas Kustoms EDKREFILL

Best news of the whole pen: it accepts parker style refills. What that means to the owner is probably the widest selection of refills available for any style pen. The Kaweco refill that is included with the pen is very good. I will probably leave it in there though my replacement preferences lean towards the Schmidt line. Nobody has done a better refill guide for the parker style than Ana over at The Well Appointed Desk. Check out The epic refill reference guide or there is probably a good chance if you’re reading this you already have a drawer full of old refills collected in your hunt for the perfect one for you.


The Sport Gel Writer is not the fanciest, most exotic, most expensive or technologically advanced pocket pen I own but it has quickly become an MVP for pocket wear when I’m loading up each morning for the dangers and perils of suburbia. With the parker refill, the plastic construction that is safe to other, more expensive, toys in my pocket and at $30 I don’t worry too much about it. It deploys easily, writes every time and disappears back into my pocket with ease. One can’t ask for much more from a mini pocket pen.
I know I talk a lot about pocket pens so have you come up with anything new lately?

Remember: Write something nice……

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One Pen Challenge

img_3645When I returned from the Atlanta Pen Show I was a good pen steward and immediately flushed my pre Atlanta pen rotation. I put those pens back into storage as I knew I would be using my new purchases. I settled back into normal pen life and decided 2 of my new pens needed to go back for work. One was a manufacturer defect and the other was a chance I took on a vintage pen and was unskilled at checking it out.

In my hotel room the Saturday night of the show I tried all of the pens with the hopes if something was wrong I could go back Sunday morning for a possible fix. Neither of the problems appeared but maybe my adrenaline and excitement just made them write better.

The vintage is going to my favorite pen repair guy Danny Fudge at TheWritePen.net. He always delivers so no worries there. The other pen is going back to the distributor and possibly overseas to the factory so besides the wait I’m sure it will come back good as new and I can’t want as it was a beautiful writer. I’m a little bummed about it but not all that surprised since several of my past pen purchases have resulted in returns to have something fixed. I have always been happy at the end but the delay to utopia writing is sometimes disappointing.

What this has caused me to do is move to a single inked pen in my daily carry. Above is my daily pen carry case. My dear sister made this case for me after she and I thought through the design together. It’s not only functional for me but carries a great deal of sentimental value. What you see peeking out is my Shawn Newton Shinobi.


For the past week that has been my only Fountain pen and we’re really bonding after a lot of use. It’s different for me to not pause for that micro second each time I need to write something at my desk and think about which pen I want to use. Sometimes the decision would be based on ink color, nib width for small spaces or just I like that pen right now and I want to write with it. My Shinobi is a broad nib so small medical forms are out, of no fault of the pen but for everything else it’s been fun, grab one pen sitting on the desk, it’s always there in the same place and writes every time. We’re getting to be really good friends.

I look forward to my new two coming back and I’m sure they are going to be as great as I had hoped for. I’m considering carrying each of them as my only fountain pen for a period of time and maybe nurture a similar the bond I’ve experienced with the Shinobi.

How about you, have you ever carried just one inked up fountain to use for everything?

Remember: Write something nice……

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Atlanta Pen Show Recap

The clothes washer is full, car needs an oil change and my bank account is flying a bit leaner. Yep, the Atlanta Pen show is over. This was the second year that I dragged my wonderful wife up with me and though we were more prepared than last year we didn’t get bogged down with following any sort of script. If you went I hope I didn’t scoop any pens out from under you. If you didn’t go and have resources or distance advantage to go to another show I can’t recommend it enough. Here is our experience from a great trip.

Our drive up Friday from Tampa was uneventful and our only stops were lunch and the Going Gear shop that was about 6 miles from the hotel. I have shopped with them online for a while and if you’re into other pocket toys such as flashlights and pocket knives they are definitely worth a stop while in the area. Their flashlight display is the best I have ever seen in person. Hotel check in was fine and Longhorn served us a great steak for dinner.

We started off Saturday morning across the street at the golden arches because the Waffle House was still full of PenAddict Posse passed out from too much ink on their pancakes and pulling an all-nighter, sorry we missed it.

Name tags are great, we spotted Lisa Vanness in line so we tried out this community thing and I walked up and bought her teams’ breakfast. She was a little taken back but then I explained my motivations and it was like we were old friends. Granted it wasn’t a big spend for me but the payback to me and my wife was far greater than the credit card receipt. And yes I bought a pen from her later!

Back to the hotel and we got downstairs around 9:45 where the show was already alive and they let us in a bit early. My first task was to find Shawn Newton before he sold out of everything. We spotted him in room 1 and I think I pulled my wife’s arm slightly out of joint with the nudge. Shawn was a real joy to speak with. He had a good selection left and I walked away with a beautiful yellow and black swirl Shinobi. It’s bigger overall than I expected but what a great writer and I’m a big pen guy. Shawn swapped in a broad nib for me which is perfectly tuned.

From there we started a tour of the tables just to get a feel for whole show. Rounding turn 3 at a trot Crazy Alan’s Emporium hit me up for one of the new 2016 LE Lilac Safari. I bit and Alan dropped in a broad nib for me. Nice $30 writer that I’m very pleased with.

After a couple of rounds I decided on a Franklin-Christoph. I sat down at the table to try some of the more creative nibs and ended up as plain as my wardrobe with a broad. I chose a model 2 with the ice frost finish and a red cap. Jim polished up the broad very smooth for me and even let me pick the color ink. Great experience and a supreme writer.

Now it was on to the Vanness table where Lisa fixed me up with a Sheaffer NOS pen with what she called a sharpie broad. I don’t even know the model of the pen but it is FUN to write with.

At the Nock table it was great to chat with Brad, Jeff, Myke and Ana over multiple passes throughout the day. They got stamina. I picked up a variety of Nock goodies, most everything I that I didn’t have already. Still don’t know what I should do with the key dangler but hey I got one!

We’re old so after lunch it was a short power nap then tried a local seafood restaurant that had good reviews but with waits reaching an hour at 4:30 pm we passed and found a burger joint.

Closing out the day we sat and listened to the PenAddict podcast live from the hotel room. My timing was a bit off to catch a seat in the live audience but that sounded like fun.

Sunday morning we hit the road about 8:30 in the morning and 7 ½ hours later rolled into our driveway in Florida. Good safe trip.

I’m an introvert when he comes to crowds. I don’t mind crowds but it’s hard for me to just walk up and talk to people. This show, and probably the pen community as a whole, helps me get past that. Everyone I talked too was so friendly, dealers, vintage, new, custom makers, it didn’t matter. Shout out to my friend Joe, The Definitive Gentleman Stationery. So happy to have crossed paths with him and chat a few.

We are considering the DC show this year but for sure next year Atlanta will be a do not miss for us.

I would love to hear about your time at Atlanta or any pen show. Any questions that I can answer for you as a show newbie myself I would be glad to answer and help you get to your first show.

Remember: Write something nice……

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Atlanta Pen Show

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 1.58.40 PM

Hotel is booked, gas in the car, ATM is cleaned out and I am ready for the Atlanta Pen Show.  Atlanta 2015 was my first pen show. I was overwhelmed with the choices and had absolutely no plan. I had a great time and did come home with a couple of goodies though my big purchase failed to hold my love but that’s for another blog post and a for sale thread. I’m hoping to avoid a similar buyer’s remorse this year by utilizing some sort of plan.

This year I assembled a loose list of the pens that have been on my want list, some for over a year, but I haven’t pulled the trigger on. I won’t come home with everything but I hope my list helps me prevent at least some of the aimless wandering.

My grocery list:

Aurora Optima

I have never owned an Aurora and would like to see one in person.

Faber-Castell Black e-Motion

I have fallen in love with every Faber-Castell I have ever purchased and the nibs have never required any tuning. I just want another FC broad.


They have an impressive booth and I hear great things about their products. I hope I can get close enough to their pens to try a few out and add one to my arsenal.

Delta Dolce Vita Oversize (Converter)

I want a Dolce Vita as my next BIG size pen. I am confused by the models and that is probably what’s prevented me from buying one online. I want a piston filler but all my research says the official OVERSIZE model is converter only.

Delta Dolce Vita Piston

Repeat…it will only be one or the other.

Delta Serena

I have not owned a Delta pen before so if I bomb on the Dolce Vita this may be a stand in.

Pilot Namiki Stella 90s

I just love the style and looks but in person it will have to jump out and speak to me.

Shawn Newton

I hear so much about Shawn’s work and see his beautiful creations online, plus what Shawn gives back to the community is inspiring. Picking all the options online is just overwhelming to me so I’m hoping he has a few pre-made models available.


I have heard great things about their pens so hoping I can see them in person and meet the folks behind the instruments.

Bexley Gaston Angel

I love the look, uniqueness and limited run. What may change my mind in person is the length. It only holds a cartridge and reportedly not large enough for a converter.


So that’s it, nothing super rare and nothing I just absolutely can’t write without. I would love to hear about your approach on shopping the pen shows and if you have a list for Atlanta.

If you go, enjoy, travel safe and I hope we can shake hands.

Remember: Write something nice……

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TWSBI Eco Review

The entry level fountain pen market is not overly crowded but I would call it dominated by two pens, the Pilot Metropolitan and the Lamy Safari. TWSBI has a reputation for playing a little above that entry level field but offering a true bargain in a real piston filling pen. Namely the ever improving 530/540/580/580-AL series. In July of 2015 TWSBI’s back room may have just put a bulls eye on Lamy and Pilot for the entry level market and I’m glad to report there is a solid third player in that niche field now. The Eco is a demonstrator piston filling fountain pen for under $30. I had no need for another pen and my daily rotation was humming along good but my curiosity won out so I ordered an Eco to see how well TWSBI could do for less than three ten dollar bills. The Eco has been out for several months now and it’s been reviewed by several of my blogging colleagues. My findings are similar to others but I will add my personal taste comments and preferences.

The Pen

IMG_0284TWSBI Eco Fountain Pen

  • Steel Broad Nib
  • Price: $29
  • 5.5” capped
  • 4.15” uncapped
  • 6.55” Posted
  • 22.8 grams, with ink


The packaging belies the price point for this pen. I think thatmakes it an exceptional bargain for gifting as the whole package looks more expensive than it is. Not quite to Apple’istic level of the 580 but pretty darn impressive for a $30 pen.


What’s In The Box

    • Pen secured and well-presented
    • Wrenc h for disassembly / maintenance
    • Silicone for maintenance, mostly the piston seal after many flushes with flushing solution.

Overall Appearance

Overall Cap OffThere are two models of the Eco differentiated only by the color of the cap and tail. Both models (colors) of the Eco are demonstrators, love them or not. You can get a white or black cap and tail. The cap and tail have a hexagon shape that tapers into the round clear plastic body of the pen. The clip and the band at the bottom of the cap or both chrome, the clip being metal and the cap band is plastic with a chrome finish. Another nice accent is the red TWSBI logo inset in red on the very top of the cap.

The whole design is unique which does open it up for honest critique. I’m not really a demonstrator pen person but right now I have the Eco and a 580 AL inked up and I’m enjoying watching the ink slosh around, my mood varies.


I don’t think any of the aesthetics of the pen detracts from it being a normal handling pen. Round barrel, average size with a good tapered section down to the nib. With the mostly plastic construction weight is light and I like the balance of the pen unposted. I do not post my pens so I’ll refrain from opinion on using the Eco posted. The cap does post but I have no basis for comparison of the writing experience as a poster.


SectionThe section is smooth and reminiscent of other TWSBIs. I personally don’t like the ink seepage around this area where it goes into the feed but I’m told it doesn’t hurt anything and I’ve had no mishaps with it. Your annoyance factor may vary.


FinialThe hexagon shaped cap is topped with a red TWSBI logo inset. I don’t think I would call it a finial but it gives character to the pen and displays its lineage proudly as does the ECO and TWSBI printed on the chrome band at the bottom of the cap.


capThere is nothing special here but nothing wrong with it either. It’s a flat, straight design that fits with the overall design of the pen. Ramp is good so it catches well on a pocket or pen case. Tension is about average and seems adequate.

Filling System

IMG_0304The filling system is the most amazing part of the value proposition that the Eco delivers. A true piston filler that uses the majority of the pen body as an ink reservoir giving you nearly 2 ML of ink capacity. That should keep you writing a while even in broad nib mode. The piston worked smooth and is even user serviceable with the included wrench and lube. Now TWSBI has been doing the wrench and lube inclusion for years but at this price point I was surprised. Probably another note on ergonomics is the hexagonal shaped tail makes for a good grip for the piston movement.


NibI’m sure the nib is made by one of the major players, Jowo, Bock, etc. TWSBI does a nice job engraving the nib and mine was perfectly aligned out of the box with every measurement I could see with my 10x loupe.


With its well aligned nib and consistent flow the writing experience is wonderful. Not glassy smooth so you definitely interact with the paper and pen contact. I would call it smooth, with feedback, for good control but not slick. The broad I purchased is maybe a little on the smaller size of broad but I tend to like Magic Marker size lines from my broads. Wetness falls just to the wet side of the scale and I have not experienced any hard starts or skips even after a thinking session with the cap off. I have come to appreciate my pens that are solid starters and performers. Every time I put nib to paper I just want ink to be there, simple request and many more expensive pens have not delivered. Superb job here TWSBI.

Writing SampleIMG_0301Conclusion

For less than $29 . The only thing that would keep me from recommending this pen every time to a new user is the frequent reluctance of new fountain pen users to use bottled ink. I don’t blame them, I started with cartridges myself but as soon as one is ready to try bottled ink this should be your first pen. Very impressive TWSBI.

Some other reviews

Are you a TWSBI fan?

Remember: Write something nice……

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Karas Kustoms Brass and Copper

I have a Karas Kustoms Bolt in Brass and a Retrakt in Copper both ready for a new home.  Both have been polished and work perfectly I just need the room. If you’re not familiar with the Karas Kustoms brand visit their site and read up on them. They have a great presence in the pen community, their fit, finish and engineering are top notch in the machined pen market.

The Copper Retrakt $60 shipped in continental US. Comes with the box, paperwork and blue Schmidt Easyflow 9000M refill. First paypal to bob@mcconnellsweb.com takes it.

Copper RetraktThe Brass Bolt $50 shipped in continental US. Comes with the box, paperwork and black Schmidt Easyflow 9000M refill. First paypal to bob@mcconnellsweb.com takes it.

Brass Bolt

Remember: Write something nice……

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InCoWriMo 2016 is a Wrap!

incowrimoI made it through InCoWriMo 2016. With some changes at my 8-5 corporate gig, this year was tougher than previous years for me. Admittedly I did not mail a letter every day but between Feb 1 and Feb 29 I got 29 letters out the door so I think the spirit was upheld.

I hope the InCoWriMo willing participants list I was using possessed good addresses, though some of the names did surprise me. A few of the fun ones I sent:

  • I suggested Richard Branson get back into the vinyl record business
  • I gave some opinion and hellos to the Dalai Lama
  • I suggested to the Pope that writing more kind letters could advance all religions
  • I request from Larry Page that Google change the font back in their logo
  • I asked Bill Gates for an Apple Pencil type experience for that other operating system he used to code for
  • Finally I scratched out a note to Hollywood and I am trying to keep my phone line open to give the Ellen DeGeneres camp an opportunity to get through to me and schedule a time I can come on the show and talk pens and stationery with Ellen.

Other than those frivolous uses of ink and postage I wrote my normal sentiments of love, hopefully encouragement and kind words to my family and friends.

If you took a shot at a letter a day in February I hope it was a resounding success and a joyous accomplishment for you. I would love to hear about any fun ones you sent or any surprises you may have received.

Remember: Write something nice……

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D1 Pen Refill Shootout

Some things related to this hobby I just don’t like. 1) Full size pens in my pants pocket and 2) A lack of refill choices in my non-fountain pens. Both equally easy to avoid individually with a multitude of high quality mini size pen choices and the variety of full size rollerball / ballpoint refills available. Where I used to run into trouble is combining these two. A mini pocket size pen is usually restrictive on refill choices due to manufacturing limitations of the size. Most pen manufacturers just don’t make a lot of variety in mini refills. One ubiquitous refill is the somewhat universal D1 size used in many different pens. My Google box search did not yield the original origin of the D1 but I did get many hits for pens that use it, including my current every day carry.

One of my favorite pocket pens is the plastic Kaweco Sport Classic with the push button retract and you guessed it, D1 size refill. Here is my battle scarred, ever faithful, Kaweco Classic Sport Ballpoint in Green Ice. Probably more pocket love than any other pen I own. It’s light, plastic, won’t scratch up other EDC goodies in my pocket, deploys quickly and works every time.

Kaweco Ice Sport GreenThe refill that Kaweco provides is good but to my #2 point above I like choices. Fortunately the ever resourceful Jet Pens carries no less than 75 different D1 refills. I was surprised. Now granted many of these are same the same refill with different colors and tip sizes but still with 75 choices you’re likely to find something you like. I discovered one I like, but more on that later in the post. Some good companies represented and putting out D1 refills:

  • Retro 51
  • Monteverde
  • Uniball Jetstream
  • Zebra
  • Pilot
  • Staedtler
  • Kaweco
  • Platinum
  • Ohto
  • Pentel
  • Tombow

The D1 size is also very popular with the multi-pens that pack more than one color in a single stick. So you can have a blue, black or red line of ink and carry just one pen. Most of that is accomplished with three D1 refills of different colors in a slightly larger than normal pen body.

Jet Pens was kind enough to send me over 12 examples of the D1 genre refills available. I think that represents a great cross section. Please don’t expect an in-depth review on each one but I’ll comment briefly on my short experience with each. I figured a picture of each one is a waste of bandwidth due to the similarity of the design. Not much variation can be managed and still fit such a wide cross section of D1 toting pens on the market. Here’s a group shot before unpacking started and ink began to flow.

collection2Monteverde Soft Roll Ballpoint Pen Refill – D1 – 0.7 mm – Blue Black – Pack of 4

  • $6 Pack of 4
  • The first sample I loaded up and not surprisingly very ballpointy. I would prefer a little more consistent darkness and saturation but I think that is the nature of the ballpoint. Solid performer.

Ohto R-4C7NP Needle-Point Ballpoint Pen Refill – D1 – 0.7 mm – Blue

  • $1.20
  • Smooth writer with no skips or blotting but seems thin for .7mm. I would call it more of a .5mm. At a $1.20 this ties with the Kaweco for best value.

Pentel Vicuna XKBXES7 Ballpoint Pen Refill – D1 – 0.7 mm – Black

  • $2.50
  • I got a little bit of dragging on this one. Seemed to need more effort and the line was a little blotchy at times. At $2.50 it’s comparatively expensive so I think there are better options.

Pilot BRF-8F Ballpoint Pen Refill – D1 – 0.7 mm – Blue

  • $1.30
  • I found the end and start of strokes were sometimes lighter. It seems to be more sensitive to pressure with my writing style. Pass

Platinum BSP-100S Ballpoint Pen Refill – D1 – 0.7 mm – Blue Ink

  • $1.65
  • This one was a bit too slick for my tastes. Not smooth but slick like I had to slow down to write neat. There was no skips or blotting and the line looks more .5 rather than a .7

Rotring Ballpoint Multi Pen Refill – D1 – 0.7 mm – Black – Pack of 5

  • $16.50 pack of 5
  • Great starter and more saturated than others. I would say this is one of my favorites but at $3.30 it’s the most expensive in our lot which knocks it off the perch as my top choice.

Staedtler 92RE Multi Pen Ballpoint Refill – D1 – 0.7 mm – Blue

  • $1.65
  • Nice writer, I found it needed a bit more pressure to perform but the line was consistent though a bit light.

Tombow VS Ballpoint Pen Refill – D1 – 0.7 mm – Black

  • $1.35
  • Good, thin line, no skips, a little bit of globbing when you stop writing before you pick up the tip. Kind of like turning off a water hose and that last bit of water in the hose. May not be a big deal to some and I didn’t spend a lot of time with it so there may be a technique that minimizes it. For me, there are better choices.

Zebra 4C-0.7 Ballpoint Pen Refill – D1 – 0.7 mm – Blue Black

  • $1.35
  • Required above normal pressure to attain a consistent line. I really wanted it to be darker. The Blue Black was extremely light and no saturating. I also got some skipping at the start of letters. Pass

Zebra 4C-1.0 Ballpoint Pen Refill – D1 – 1.0 mm – Blue

  • I could feel the 1.0 width and with more ink flowing it felt smoother. It gave me a wide consistent line. (spoiler alert) This one returned to my pen after all the testing of the others.

Zebra ESB-0.5 Emulsion Ink Ballpoint Pen Refill – D1 – 0.5 mm – Black

  • $2.65
  • I’m not sure what the Emulsion ink difference was but this was a very good writer with no blotting or skipping. The .5 in this one was a little too thin and that kept it off my top pick list.

Kaweco Soul 1.0 Blue

  • $6 for a pack of 5
  • No real need to change out this factory choice. Not as saturated and consistent as some of the others but at $1.20 these are a tie for the value winners and a very respectable writer. I didn’t replace mine until the original refill ran out.

Writing SamplesBWriting SampleAAnd The Winner Is

Many of these are winners in my book and it’s unfair to rule any out just based on my own personal tastes. I’m just not a big ballpoint fan for extended writing. They have their place in an EDC arsenal for sure and I carry one almost every day. My preferences for any pen are hard for the design mechanics of a ballpoint to even attain: Medium to broad line, no skips, easy start, saturated dark colors. Many of these are good but of course in a shootout one has to rise to the top. My favorite D1 refill:

The Zebra 4C-1.0 with the Ohto and Rotring close behind.

Your taste may vary but I hope I have given you a little more information on each one to help with your D1 refill shopping.

For additional reading I found my friend Ian over at Pens! Paper! Pencils! did a compare back in 2014 and I think I saw a refresh in 2015.


I’ve always wanted to use the word Shootout in a blog post about pens, it sounds exciting. This post was exciting as I anticipated each new player while reassembling my trusty Kaweco over and over. It was fun to do, more work than I expected but I so enjoyed the pay off. Big thanks to Elaine and team over at Jet Pens for supporting what I do and specifically making this post possible.

Do you have a favorite D1 pen and refill? I do now!

Remember: Write something nice……

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$5 Ink Give Back

Black Currant BottleAfter Santa brought me more new ink than I deserve for Christmas I have run out of room in my ink box.  After some painful analysis I have come up with the keepers I like best and I want to pass on some perfectly good ink to a new home to enjoy. All of these inks are anywhere from a 1/2 full bottle to maybe just a single fill out of a full bottle. They have plenty of life left.

  • Sheaffer Skrip Blue

Recipient to pay $5 to cover shipping costs. USA shipping only and please only one bottle per person.

If you’re interested visit my For Sale Page on my blog. First payment to paypal gets that ink and I will remove it from the blog page after I receive payment. Really some great colors, I just have to limit my storage.

Thanks for reading and get stocked up for InCoWriMo!

Remember….Write Something Nice……